About Me

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Nebraska, United States
A would-be stay at home mom working full-time as a teacher. I teach at my old Highschool, working side-by-side with my own teachers. I blog to keep the Texan grandparents updated and chronicle our life for future reference. (In other words, I don't have a real baby-book or diary.) Comments make my day. Thanks for stopping by! kimlepper at gmail.com

Monday, March 30, 2015


Oh, how I hate you.
Not just because I have trouble leaving my bed.  I always have had to deal with that.  I could lay in bed all day and be content.  I love my bed. Love love love it.

It's the child that we affectionately refer to as "the beast" that makes me dread 6am.

We never know how she'll wake up.

Will she be happy?
Start off the day by barking at us for something we have no control over?
Will she lose all of her privileges for the day by 6:10am?
Will there be tears?
Screaming matches?
Will we leave on time because she's cooperative or will she have to go to school with bedhead because it took her 30 minutes to get dressed and stomp downstairs?
Will her pants be too tight/big/long/small/loose today?
Will she have the patience to button, or will her clothes be chucked around the room in frustration?
 Will she remember to ask calmly for help before she explodes?
Will we be able to keep Charlotte out of her way as she's crying and stomping around the house?

Some days we find something that works.  But it's never permanent.
For a while it helped for us to get you dressed.
For a while it helped to cuddle with you as you woke up.
For a while it helped to set a timer.
For a while it helped to read to you in the mornings.
For a while it helped to have everything laid out for you.
For a while it helped to have a check-list for you to mark off.
For a while it helped to race you.
For a while it helped to spank you.
For a while it helped to take away privileges.
For a while it helped to earn privileges.

Today we were all late as you learned how to scream into a pillow.  Once you finally tried it, you didn't stop for 5 minutes straight.  So for now, I think it will work.  And I need to learn to accept that its only going to work for a while and try to have another solution ready to give us peace in the mornings when the pillow screaming stops helping.

But really, I hope we can keep it together in the mornings until you learn to get dressed and eat breakfast in the morning without a meltdown.  It's really not that hard.
And I so wish it wasn't so frustrating for you.
St. Jerome, pray for us.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Kindergarten must mean Paper Factory in another language.  Every day Sam comes home with gobs and gobs of art and worksheets she's worked on.  Luckily, a few years ago I got the idea to take a picture  of the art and she'll let me throw it away.  Although sometimes she'll complain, I just reminder her of her Art Book that she'll get at Christmas and she's fine with it again.
I'm really hoping the Elsa obsession calms down here.

Bad mom memory- I forgot to remind her to wear something green on St. Patty's day!!
Boy did she milk that one.

Monday, March 23, 2015

When the Cat is Away...

 The mouse with play!
She gets their names mixed up, but she knows they are "Nonna" and "Selsa."

Those crossed legs...I just...it's too much!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Picture of Patience

I'm not sure if Charlotte's patience amazes me because it's leagues different from Sam's or because I have no idea where she gets it from.  Or both.  She'll find something and have some idea of what she wants to do and attempt to do it for hours.   Samantha still screams within 5 seconds.  She's getting better now.  At least she'll calm herself down before she demands asks for help.

I give you, Charlotte putting on my shoes.  I couldn't get a non-fuzzy picture, partially because I was laughing so hard.
Ok, got one foot in...Now for the other...

I just need to hold onto the wall here...Wait, my foot came out and now I can't reach.

  Maybe if I move them?

Hm, I think Mommy's laughing is part of the problem, let me try over here.

I just need to hold onto the table here- shoot, I can't reach them again...

Ok, that didn't work, I better go back to where I was before.

Ok, hold onto the wall, step foot in...

Got it! No, the other foot...

Take this one out...oh, shoot, that's not what I wanted to do...

Ok, move shoe farther away from the other, step in and...
Take foot out so I can- OH, woops, I did that again...

Ok, let's try this foot first.

Wow, that's really far away.

Ok, so, I moved the other shoe farther away, surely this will help.  First foot IN.

COME on...

She FINALLY took me up on my offer to help.  She was SO proud!

And wouldn't stop moving, hence the horrible pictures.

Note the vacuum plugged in.  I seriously vacuumed the whole house and she was working these shoes the whole time!

Slow and steady...

Here I go!

Shoot, I came out of them.

At this point she did get a little frustrated.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cozy Spots

Reading on the couch

Washing the table...She worked real hard to get her foot up like that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Baby Rose

On Monday I have a D&C scheduled to allow baby Rose to be buried.  She was really small, but oh so loved.  Samantha wanted to name her "Flower" but we didn't quite think that was appropriate, since we wouldn't name any children that made it to birth "Flower."

So we suggested "Rose" and it seemed right.  

It's been a rough 2 weeks and a roller-coaster of emotions.  The biggest right now is financial.  It just never seems like we can get above treading water.  No matter how hard we try.  My birthday present was going to be paying off our smallest loan.  But now we'll be paying for surgery.  Every day I pray that our 13-year-old cars can hold it together for a few more years.  Even when we try and save up for a "new" used car, some stupid medical bill just throws us back thousands of dollars.  I know I should be grateful that we have private insurance.  And that we can pay our bills.  Eight years into a long list of very expensive medical problems and we've always been able to pay off everything with in a few months.  But it's those stupid student loans that keep us tied at the neck.  That keep forcing us both to work our tails off and make a "sick-day" so expensive and exhausting.  We're 2 weeks away from a much more affordable insurance and we'll be maxing out our deductible and co-insurance of the horribly expensive and high-deductible insurance this week.

We just. can't. win.  


Now we have two babies in heaven and two on earth.  Eddy and Rose, you've got a lot of work to do while we wait to meet you!  Pray for us, babies, PRAY! 


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Her Playtime

After having gone through so much with Sam just to teach her how to play, it brings me to tears and so much joy to watch Charlotte find things to play with.  Without knowing it, the past 5 years I've been buying toys for Charlotte. Samantha doesn't play with something unless someone shows her how or has a playmate.  But Charlotte finds toys and is in her own little world.

This is the one poly-pocket that was mine growing up.  
I still have one of the original pieces.  Mom knows what happened to the other.  But we won't go there.

Sam found some more for her to play with.

Oh, the joy!

This was what I had intended for Sam.  Little did I know I'd have to wait three years to see it happen.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My Style

For spirit week I told Jeremy that one day was "dress like a teacher day."  
"Do you think anyone will dress like you?"
"What would they wear?"
He was seriously baffled.  He really thinks I dress like normal people.  I don't do it on purpose, but my "comfort and something cheap-yet-stylish" requirements make me for quite the mimic-able person.  This year 2 students and a teacher dressed like me.

It was jeans day, so I didn't have my usual uniform of "skirt and boots".  
Glasses on the head are not a fashion statement.  The slightest bit of sun has me squinting and gives me headaches.
This is how Charlotte thinks you are to wear sunglasses.

We have to show her the "traditional" method.  She thinks it's is so silly.

Friday, March 6, 2015


These two are inseparable now.  But not in a "Stay away from your sister!" kind of way.  Samantha knows how to be gentle and Charlotte is just fascinated by Sam.

She catches them and then let's Charlotte pop them.

She got a kick out of watching Charlotte try and "blow".  "It's like she's trying to eat it, Mom!"

The Awe

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I love languages.  The only thing that fascinates me more is watching language develop.  Which is one reason I love my job.  And raising kids! 
Everyone has always marveled at Samantha's reading ability, and we know we are lucky.  Jeremy says he tears up every time he sees her reading on the couch because learning to read was a real struggle for him.  He must tear up a lot more than I realized because she's always on the couch reading.
When people comment on her reading I just shrug and say, "She literally taught herself."  I remember someone saying that about another kid while growing up and I didn't understand how that was possible.  And even after watching Sam's reading ability develop, I still don't understand how it happened.  But believe me, it did!
Here's the timeline:
22 months we discovered she knew 90% of the alphabet- both upper and lowercase
3-years she could read familiar words like "can" and "dog" and "play" in books.
4-years she could read words that Jeremy and I would write for her to read.
5-years she had most 3 and 4 letter words down, and would guess bigger ones by the first and last letter and context.  I decided to go through "How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons."  By lesson 8 she was bored stiff, but had picked up on the sounding out bit.  We skipped to lesson 80-something and she read it perfectly.  

Again, I knew she was advanced, but didn't realize the to what extent until something came home in her folder the other day from school.

This is what her classmates are reading.

This is what was sent home to work on inflection and new vocabulary.
This is what she reads at home, both silently and out-loud.  Her inflection is amazing.  She changes her voice and volume when the book says "shouted" and "whispered" or when a sentence is a question.
Another reason I'm just now realizing how blessed she is with this talent is because Charlotte is...well, normal.  She's a very bright 17-month-old (just sayin' ;) ) but at her age, Sam knew how to count to 10 and knew most of the alphabet signs.  Charlotte can count to 2.  Or just SAY 2, really.  But she knows what it means, because anytime she has two of something she'll tell you "DOO!"

I've always talked about the various aspects of language acquisition (reading, writing, speaking and oral comprehension) with my students and their parents, but to see it in action just gives me chills.  For example, before Kindergarten, although she could read really well, her comprehension didn't match her reading level (but whose does, really? There are words I can read but had no idea what they mean!).  Additionally, her writing was almost non-existent.  She could copy, but didn't know how to sound-out words to write them, although she could sound-out words to read them.  Just fascinating.  After a few months in kindergarten we've collected quite a few of these:

They usually involve Elsa, but here is a rare one talking about baseball.  Despite having been able to read the word "play" for years, she still spells it like this.  She's obviously a very observant child, as she taught herself to read but writing is in a completely different part of the brain.  Additionally, Jeremy struggled to learn to read.  Although he's now an avid reader, he has a real hard time sounding out what Sam writes.  

As Charlotte's language is developing, I love comparing her and Samantha.  Not in a "whose better" way but just "how are they different" way.   Screens have always been like a magnet to Sam.  It doesn't matter what is on.  She watched Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech a few years ago.  It's 17 minutes long.  And in black and white.  And just a guy talking.  Anyway, I digress.  Charlotte, on the other hand, couldn't care less about screens.  Recently we put on a "signing-time" dvd.  The music caught her ear and she realized they were signing and loved it.  I let her watch one after school now while I get dinner going and she loves to sit with a blanket and watch.  Jeremy came home the other day and saw her sitting and watching it and asked, "Who are you?"

Already the list of Charlotte speak is out-dated.  Yogurt is now "gur".  Grapes are now "spsss".  She calls me "Mom-mye."  The favorite car game right now between her and Sam is "Charlotte can you say.....?"  And although she prefers to speak rather than sign, some things she will only sign, like 
"muffin" and "thank-you."  
She's also just learned to put two words together.  She said and signed, "more nana" the other day in the car and I flipped out.  She also learned "cold" and has been very adamant to tell us it's cold whenever we open the front door.  The colder it is, the harder she clenches her fists and stiffens her face.  The other day she thrust her freshly poured milk at me and signed "cold".  I laughed so loudly I scared her a bit.  But when I warmed it up for her she was ok. 

This is a new pastime of hers.  She's so gentle with books. There just one page in one book that she rips.  Same one. Every-time.  
She paused to tell me, "No."

I'm not exaggerating, she did this for 30+ minutes.

She keeps reaching for the sunrays that were landing on the corner of the book :)

And because this will go on for a while yet, I'll be ending this post with

Ram Sam Sam

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Lil Sister

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